It’s Not a Dream, It’s Comic Culture with Zombree

ALERT: iZombie to end with issue #28.

I’m not going to discuss the controversy behind the cancellation of Vertigo’s beloved iZombie, because I hate controversy. But you are more than welcome to read about it here. i,Zombie has appeared on my “To Read” lists but I have not done a formal review of it, and now that my time is running out, I want to encourage all of you to start at the beginning of this series and read till the very end. (You won’t be able to stop once you start).

i,Zombie is by far, my favorite Vertigo comic book title at this moment, and that’s saying a lot because I love Lemire’s Sweet Tooth and Abnett’s The New Deadwardians. But what Chris Roberson has done with the paranormal/supernatural genres in i,Zombie has completely blown me away, from the very first issue. He has broken so many genre rules, and all of the shattered pieces fall right into place.

Pay attention, here’s the rundown:

1. Gwen Dylan, our grave-digging zombie protagonist who only eats freshly dead brains and lives among humans as a respectful member of society. Her blessing and curse is experiencing the memories of the brains she has just ingested.

2. Ellie, our protag’s best friend, a young ghost who died in the 60’s who falls in love with a Frankenstein type monster (because he’s a hunka hunka piece of yummy.)

3. Scott, a were-terrier (yea, NOT werewolf) who finds himself infatuated with our grave-digging zombie until he discovers his strong feelings for a guy–a guy who could cause problems for our protag.

4. A coven of hot vampire chicks that use a paintball business as a front to lure hot guys into the forest to munch on.

5. A man who lives forever, literally. We never know whether to trust him or not, due to his suspicious dealings with Gwen’s death, and even more suspicious plans for her in her after-death state.

6. Then of course there is Horatio, who is part of a team of paranormal bounty hunters/killers. He’s Gwen’s main squeeze. Whether he knows about her secret or not, I’ll leave that up to you to find out.

7. And so many more characters…a paranormal special ops team called The Dead Presidents, Horatio’s vicious team of paranormal mercenaries, lots and lots of zombies (real ones, not Gwen’s type), a brain in a coffee pot (a nod to the philosophical argument of The Brain in a Vat) and maybe… just maybe a world-ending Cthulhu type being.

Everyone has plans for everyone, and the stories interweave like a beautifully grotesque tapestry of delightful craziness.

…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. While all of this may seem extremely overwhelming, Chris Roberson knows how to spin a seemingly convoluted storyline into pure gold. i,Zombie surprised me. With each issue, the characters matured and grew closer together. They evolved with the plot, when usually you’ll find that comic book characters can stay stagnate for quite some time, as only the plot seems to develop. There is a tremendous amount of thinking that goes into the process of digesting this comic book. You might have to read an issue twice (or more) to fully understand the meaning of all that is unfolding. That’s not because of poor writing, it’s because of the brilliant mind who wrote it.

While I’m not going to be reviewing any one issue in particular, I do want to encourage you to seek out the back issues of this fantastic series, read them all, then mourn the loss of such a brilliantly woven together comic book.

We will miss i,Zombie. But one must give credit to a creator who will stand tall and stick by his convictions. Roberson will no doubt go on to spin words into gold in the near future. So after you finish i,Zombie, keep an eye out for his new projects.